Lavochkin LaGG-3

drawings and evolution

Drawings of Voronin, corrected by Pavel Sadovnikov

Updated on January 23, 2010
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Note: this text is provisional and based on many mails from Alex Ruchkowsky; the same researcher will produce an improved text as soon as possible.


A widely known classification of LaGG-3 variants takes its origin in the notes on the drawings of Voronin, and accepted by a great number of authors and books; although this classification is widely known and useful, it is a bit outdated at the light of more recent knowledges.

Production started at 4 factories:

Before the war started, Z.21in Gorky turned out about 300 planes; Z.23 in Leningrad and Z.31 in Taganrog turned out about 100 planes together.

Soon after the war outbreak 3 factories wer evacuated:

Each factory led its own sequence of series (and not necessarily from number 1).

What is a series? It is a production batch. For fighters, it was normally 100 pieces in one series (for bombers it was 10). Series of same number at different factories did not match in all the specific details of the planes.

In the basic LaGG history, the main line is the sequence of the Gorky factory, Z. 21, which was the leading site. Other factories (in Leningrad, later Novosibirsk, and in Taganrog, later Tbilisi) were sort of subordinated (they received all updates from Z.21 a bit later and gradually incorporated them).
Production started at different moments, so when Series 1 went on in Z. 21 nothing had yet started in Taganrog and Novosibirsk. Also, some sites were slower and some were faster, so Z. 21 was somewhere in series 37 when Z. 31 was somewhere in series 27 or 28.

Then Z.21 switched over to La-5, (I did not come across a series number bigger than 312137XX), after which the LaGG fuselages were used to build early La-5 (using the plywood fairings to harmonize transition from engine to fuselage). So series 40 and later. never existed in Gorky.

Z.31 became the only site for LaGG-3; when launching an improved and lightened LaGG-3 (commonly known as "series 66"), they suddenly "jumped over" from Series 27 or 28 to Series 60 in their numbers; series 30/40/50 never existed at Z. 31. Improved LaGGs had serial numbers in range between 60XX and 72XX until LaGG was written off and Z. 31 started building the Yak-3

Numbers of series were held independently at different factories but the way the planes looked did not necessarily match. In other words,
Series 3 of Z 31 does not necessarily look like Series 3 at Z 21. They could have a few differences. And Series 27 and 28 of Z 31 were not
similar to the corresponding 27-28 series of z21, they looked more like series 35 of Z. 21.

So those series and numbers are a bit tricky, nothing more than a production counter.

The most interesting thing about the group of planes with big numerals, such as white 14, 15, 20, 22, 25, 35, 42, 44, are with high probability built at Zavod 23 in Leningrad in Summer 1941, before the factory was evacuated to Novosibirsk. 44 iap
records in summer-autumn 1941 show a lot of peculiarly formatted serial numbers (01100XX) that do not match either Z. 21 or Z. 31 and must belong to Z. 23. All the mentioned planes have a black-green camo as required at that moment, but not matching the standard pattern applied on Z. 21/31, and without the fuselage star. The standard for those Zavod 23 series is 4 guns (2 ShKAS and 2 UB), with the stbd UB gun deleted. This corresponds nicely to the fact that at the same time Gorky was building series 4/5/6/7 that did not have the stbd UB either but did have the horn compensators.

Zavod 31 planes were characterized by the small starlet on the fin and relatively big black serial number underneath it on the fin.

Some Z. 31 series had a strange aerial mast with a diagonal rod behind it.

There is no info on Z 153 in Novosibirsk at all , I only have 1 or 2 serials and also a suspicion that the well known Japanese LaGG could have been a Z 153 product.

LaGG-3 series 1 and 2 (till plane n.51) of Factory n.21

(3121101 to 3121251)

hatch on the left side of fuselage after plane n.38 of 2nd serie


LaGG-3 series 2 (after plane n.51) of Factory n.21

(3121252 to 3121300)

LaGG-3 of factory n.31, and last 75 planes of series 3 of Factory n.21.?????


Note the change in oil cooler intake, in details of the cowling sides and the more pointed metal plate behind the exhaust pipes, and the 'broken' profile of fuselage behind of the water cooler outlet..

LaGG-3 series 3 of Factory n.21, first 75 planes.

(3121301 to 3121375)

LaGG-3 series 3 of Factory n.21, plane n.76 and later.

(3121376 to 3121400)

Note the suppression of the UBS on the right side.

LaGG-3 4th serie and 5th serie till plane n.19, factory n.21

(3121401 to 3121519)

Note the addition of two balance masses on the rudder, and the new shape of oil cooler inlet.

Starting from series 4 the 2 horn
compensatiors appeared and possibly some planes had them retrofitted so
you probably could find Gorky planes of series 1-3 that had
3x12.7+2x7.62 (like Galckenko's plane, for example)

Some planes conserved the retractable tail wheel with doors, but forthemost the tail wheel was locked extracted.

LaGG-3 of 5th serie, after the 20th plane, to serie n.7 of factory n.21.

(3121520 to 3121800)

Note the 20 mm gun in the prop axis.

LaGG-3 from plane n.15 of the 7th serie to serie 10.??

(3121801 to 31211015)

LaGG-3 of factory n.23; note the early-style cowling sides, and the longer flap of the glycol cooler outlet, and the wider step behind it on the fuselage.


After the very first planes, LaGG-3s of Zavod 23 were added with balance horns, while the starboard UBS was deleted.

Tail wheel without doors of planes of 44 IAP.

Tall radio mast seen on some planes.

front view of some variants:

LaGG-3 of series 1 and 2 of Zavod 21;

note the squared wingroot intakes.

LaGG-3 of serie 3 (till plane n.75) of Zavod 21; note the rounded wingroot intakes and a new slot under the nose;


LaGG-3 of factory n.23;


LaGG-3 of 3rd serie of factory 21, after plane n.76;

note the suppression of the right UBS on the nose;


LaGG-3 of Zavod 23;

LaGG-3 after 15th plane of serie 7 to serie 10 of factory n.21

LaGG-3 of factory 31, similar to the early batch of 3rd serie of factory n.21.

LaGG-3 of 4th serie till to 19th plane of 5th serie; note the modified shape of oil cooler intake;

(small) ???

LaGG-3 after plane 20 of 5 serie till to 7th serie of factory n.21.



Sections of the wooden part of fuselage of LaGG-3.

here is some discussion, in Russian, on the evolution of these drawings.